Tesla reaches settlement in autopilot death case of Apple engineer

Posted:
in General Discussion

Tesla was prepared to contest claims of wrongful death related to its Autopilot system in court but has chosen to settle the case instead.

White Tesla Model S driving on an open road at twilight with cloudy skies in the background.
Tesla agrees to pay settlement in tragic autopilot crash



In a surprising turn, Tesla has opted for a settlement with the family of Wei "Walter" Huang, an Apple engineer. His tragic death in an Autopilot-related crash in 2018 sparked widespread debate about the safety and reliability of automated driving systems.

The case, scheduled for a courtroom showdown this week, has instead concluded with a confidential settlement, the terms of which are currently sealed from the public eye.

Huang's Tesla Model X, engaged in Autopilot mode, collided with a highway barrier, leading to his untimely death. Tesla had been prepared to argue that Huang was playing a game on his iPhone, a significant factor in the accident. The company even wanted Apple to testify.

However, before these arguments could be presented in court, both parties settled, reported The Verge on Monday. Details of the settlement between Tesla and Huang's family remain under wraps following attempts by Tesla's lawyers to seal the amount and terms of the agreement.

The judge still needs to approve the settlement. According to court filings, a subsequent hearing is scheduled for Thursday, April 11th, to examine the settlement details further. This hearing will take place after giving the California Department of Transportation, another party implicated in the lawsuit, an opportunity to challenge the settlement.

The settlement doesn't close the book on the issues it raises. As automated driving systems become increasingly prevalent, the balance between technological innovation and user responsibility remains a critical conversation.

The tragic loss of Wei "Walter" Huang is a sad reminder of the stakes involved. Moving forward, the automotive industry, technology companies, and regulators must work together to ensure that the roads of the future are safe for everyone.



Read on AppleInsider

«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    There is a massive night and day difference between FSD from 2018 and now. He is proving everyone wrong. All the experts and every major company said that it was impossible for his approach to work, and yet the cars drive by themselves with only minor mistakes here and there. The car still doesn’t understand hand signals yet. I just got back from a 3 ½ hour trip to Indianapolis today and there was a traffic cop waving cars through a red light. That is still one of the situations that the car can’t handle yet. But for the vast majority of situations, the car does fine. I still feel that this will be a finished product by the end of 2026 and most car manufacturers will get Tesla licenses for Honda to use FSD for example and Ford to license FSD, and so on. Tesla is just too far ahead for others to catch up. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 26
    Elon Musk announced that Tesla will be investing $10 Billion in FSD technology for this year alone. They are dead serious that this will be a solvable problem.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 26
    There is a massive night and day difference between FSD from 2018 and now. He is proving everyone wrong. All the experts and every major company said that it was impossible for his approach to work, and yet the cars drive by themselves with only minor mistakes here and there. The car still doesn’t understand hand signals yet. I just got back from a 3 ½ hour trip to Indianapolis today and there was a traffic cop waving cars through a red light. That is still one of the situations that the car can’t handle yet. But for the vast majority of situations, the car does fine. I still feel that this will be a finished product by the end of 2026 and most car manufacturers will get Tesla licenses for Honda to use FSD for example and Ford to license FSD, and so on. Tesla is just too far ahead for others to catch up. 

    Oh just stop it.   He also said no way he’d settle this case. He’d see it through.  Transparency.  He had faith in Tesla and FSD.  No matter what.  

    He’s a liar. He’s a clown. No reason to trust anything.   
    OfertmayralphietophatnosocksjeffharrisdanoxroundaboutnowwilliamlondonmacxpressAulani
  • Reply 4 of 26

    Elon Musk announced that Tesla will be investing $10 Billion in FSD technology for this year alone. They are dead serious that this will be a solvable problem.

    Because $$$ = guarantee.   Sure, bro. 
    OfertmayjeffharrisroundaboutnowwilliamlondonmacxpressAulanironnwatto_cobratht
  • Reply 5 of 26
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,369member
    There is a massive night and day difference between FSD from 2018 and now. He is proving everyone wrong. All the experts and every major company said that it was impossible for his approach to work, and yet the cars drive by themselves with only minor mistakes here and there. The car still doesn’t understand hand signals yet. I just got back from a 3 ½ hour trip to Indianapolis today and there was a traffic cop waving cars through a red light. That is still one of the situations that the car can’t handle yet. But for the vast majority of situations, the car does fine. I still feel that this will be a finished product by the end of 2026 and most car manufacturers will get Tesla licenses for Honda to use FSD for example and Ford to license FSD, and so on. Tesla is just too far ahead for others to catch up. 

    Tesla is not a leader in autonomous driving;

    Of the 14 systems rated, 11 were found to be "poor," including Tesla's Autopilot and its Full Self-Driving version, which is in beta testing, along with Nissan's ProPILOT Assist 2.0, Mercedes-Benz's Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with Active Steering Assist, Ford's BlueCruise and BMW's Active Driving Assistant.

    SAE Level 5
    Full Self-Driving (FSD) is Tesla's branding for its beta testing program to achieve fully autonomous driving (SAE Level 5). The naming is controversial, because vehicles operating under FSD remain at Level 2 automation and are therefore not "fully self-driving" and require active driver supervision.
    Still, credit to Elon for yet another "pump" on "robotaxies" to juice the stock after he killed off the Model 2.

    Welcome Tesla, to the world of low margin auto production!



    williamlondonmacxpressAulanironnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 26
    ralphieralphie Posts: 107member
    Tesla might make a decent battery on wheels, but they certainly don’t make good cars.
    tophatnosockstimpetuswilliamlondonmacxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 26
    peterhartpeterhart Posts: 161member
    ralphie said:
    Tesla might make a decent battery on wheels, but they certainly don’t make good cars.
    They do make good cars; I’ve been driving a Model 3 for a year now and am currently making use of the one-month free trial of FSD that they are offering existing drivers. I have learned a lot and the car requires your attention, like any car. It is not fully autonomous but it is certainly amazing technology that not many others have presented. People are careless with their devices. Even here in Georgia, a hands-free state, people are holding their phones all the time. When I drive my car I notice it even more because FSD and even the mid-level Enhanced Autopilot which I normally have, follows the road rules more than every other driver around me. Driving advancements are both a blessing and a curse that may never be solved because there will always be the skeptics, the hold-outs, and the I’m-better-than-everybody-elses.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 26
    There is a massive night and day difference between FSD from 2018 and now. He is proving everyone wrong. All the experts and every major company said that it was impossible for his approach to work, and yet the cars drive by themselves with only minor mistakes here and there. The car still doesn’t understand hand signals yet. I just got back from a 3 ½ hour trip to Indianapolis today and there was a traffic cop waving cars through a red light. That is still one of the situations that the car can’t handle yet. But for the vast majority of situations, the car does fine. I still feel that this will be a finished product by the end of 2026 and most car manufacturers will get Tesla licenses for Honda to use FSD for example and Ford to license FSD, and so on. Tesla is just too far ahead for others to catch up. 
    Your handle explains your brain.
    williamlondonAulani
  • Reply 9 of 26
    tmay said:
    SAE Level 5
    Full Self-Driving (FSD) is Tesla's branding for its beta testing program to achieve fully autonomous driving (SAE Level 5). The naming is controversial, because vehicles operating under FSD remain at Level 2 automation and are therefore not "fully self-driving" and require active driver supervision.
    Level 2 is only for highway driving as well. 

    "In its user manual, Tesla says that Autosteer, one of the main functions of Autopilot, is “intended for use on controlled-access highways with a fully attentive driver.” That usually means highways with on- and off-ramps and a center median to separate opposing lanes."

    tmayronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 26

    The car still doesn’t understand hand signals yet. I just got back from a 3 ½ hour trip to Indianapolis today and there was a traffic cop waving cars through a red light. That is still one of the situations that the car can’t handle yet. 
    Traffic lights = not a highway. See above...
    jeffharristmayAulaniwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 26
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,067member
    Elon Musk announced that Tesla will be investing $10 Billion in FSD technology for this year alone. They are dead serious that this will be a solvable problem.
    It is reasonable to assume that FSD is a solvable problem. The big question is when.

    We have already seen many companies come and go because they couldn't get FSD to work before they ran out of VC cash. But the castoff survivors of those shuttered companies will go to work elsewhere, many on the same problem. Eventually it will happen.

    Rome wasn't built in a day and today's smartwatches are a far cry from what the cellular telephone was in the late Eighties, in many instances far more interesting scenarios than Dick Tracy's watch television or the Star Trek communicator (which didn't even have video).


    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,285member
    There is a massive night and day difference between FSD from 2018 and now. He is proving everyone wrong. All the experts and every major company said that it was impossible for his approach to work, and yet the cars drive by themselves with only minor mistakes here and there. The car still doesn’t understand hand signals yet. I just got back from a 3 ½ hour trip to Indianapolis today and there was a traffic cop waving cars through a red light. That is still one of the situations that the car can’t handle yet. But for the vast majority of situations, the car does fine. I still feel that this will be a finished product by the end of 2026 and most car manufacturers will get Tesla licenses for Honda to use FSD for example and Ford to license FSD, and so on. Tesla is just too far ahead for others to catch up. 

    Oh just stop it.   He also said no way he’d settle this case. He’d see it through.  Transparency.  He had faith in Tesla and FSD.  No matter what.  

    He’s a liar. He’s a clown. No reason to trust anything.   
    It was a smart move, IMO. No one wants to put their faith in a jury getting it right. Whatever the family was accepting, certainly far less than they were demanding, was a fair tradeoff to avoid a courtroom dice throw. Obviously, the family wasn't firm on putting their case in the hands of a jury either. 

    Other companies, Apple included, very often settle out of court instead of by trial, even if they are convinced they did nothing wrong and prepared to argue it. 
    timpetus
  • Reply 13 of 26
    hammeroftruthhammeroftruth Posts: 1,319member
    If anyone wants to see how the technology is going, just take a ride or watch a Waymo. I have ridden several times and have seen them on the road every day. They drive like an elderly person who can’t see very well and sometimes break for no reason. Deathly afraid of making left turns on busy streets with no left turn traffic light arrows. It will pick the “safest” (longest) route to get to your destination and is a little cheaper than rideshares and rarely almost half the price. 

    I have seen the cars stop traffic on busy streets for no apparent reason, and while it has a ton of sensors on the car, it still has difficulty judging where pedestrians are when driving parallel to a sidewalk that has people on it. Mine stopped because it was thinking those people who were walking would all of a sudden dart into the street when it was a couple and their baby stroller. Almost every ride, I have feedback, and a lot of times the cars are pretty dirty inside. They keep giving me vouchers but Google does not like talking about issues that could be construed as potential problems that could result in serious accidents. 

    I doubt Tesla will be able to make a safe automated driving system if it just relies on cameras. The only reason why Waymo is successful is the grea$ing of politicians who tout that their cities will be high tech and this will be our future. So far, all I see is weary, angry, and surprised people when taking Waymo or when driving next to one. 
    timpetuswilliamlondonronnwatto_cobraAlex_Vtht
  • Reply 14 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,285member
    If anyone wants to see how the technology is going, just take a ride or watch a Waymo. I have ridden several times and have seen them on the road every day. They drive like an elderly person who can’t see very well and sometimes break for no reason. Deathly afraid of making left turns on busy streets with no left turn traffic light arrows. It will pick the “safest” (longest) route to get to your destination and is a little cheaper than rideshares and rarely almost half the price. 

    I have seen the cars stop traffic on busy streets for no apparent reason, and while it has a ton of sensors on the car, it still has difficulty judging where pedestrians are when driving parallel to a sidewalk that has people on it. Mine stopped because it was thinking those people who were walking would all of a sudden dart into the street when it was a couple and their baby stroller. Almost every ride, I have feedback, and a lot of times the cars are pretty dirty inside. They keep giving me vouchers but Google does not like talking about issues that could be construed as potential problems that could result in serious accidents. 

    I doubt Tesla will be able to make a safe automated driving system if it just relies on cameras. The only reason why Waymo is successful is the grea$ing of politicians who tout that their cities will be high tech and this will be our future. So far, all I see is weary, angry, and surprised people when taking Waymo or when driving next to one. 
    Where are you riding Waymo vehicles, and how long ago was it? I've seen others mention significant improvements, though I wouldn't expect them to ever take the same chances human drivers are prone to make, with resultant injuries and damage to fellow drivers due to human carelessness. 

    I've not yet taken one myself. 
    edited April 9
  • Reply 15 of 26
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,966member
    If anyone wants to see how the technology is going, just take a ride or watch a Waymo. I have ridden several times and have seen them on the road every day. They drive like an elderly person who can’t see very well and sometimes break for no reason. Deathly afraid of making left turns on busy streets with no left turn traffic light arrows. It will pick the “safest” (longest) route to get to your destination and is a little cheaper than rideshares and rarely almost half the price. 

    I have seen the cars stop traffic on busy streets for no apparent reason, and while it has a ton of sensors on the car, it still has difficulty judging where pedestrians are when driving parallel to a sidewalk that has people on it. Mine stopped because it was thinking those people who were walking would all of a sudden dart into the street when it was a couple and their baby stroller. Almost every ride, I have feedback, and a lot of times the cars are pretty dirty inside. They keep giving me vouchers but Google does not like talking about issues that could be construed as potential problems that could result in serious accidents. 

    I doubt Tesla will be able to make a safe automated driving system if it just relies on cameras. The only reason why Waymo is successful is the grea$ing of politicians who tout that their cities will be high tech and this will be our future. So far, all I see is weary, angry, and surprised people when taking Waymo or when driving next to one. 

    FSD will not work anytime soon the next step in the master plan will be to tell everyone that special highways/roads need to be built to make the dream come true.
    edited April 9 timpetuswilliamlondonronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 26
    timpetustimpetus Posts: 34member
    Will we be able to get FSD that is, statistically, safer than the average human driver? Probably. Will it ever beat the best human drivers? No way. Humans think in a way that computers cannot replicate, no matter how fast they process information there is no way they can make judgement calls. I'll always be more comfortable driving my own vehicle or riding in one driven by a professional human driver than I would be in a self-driving vehicle.
    williamlondonronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,285member
    timpetus said:
    Will we be able to get FSD that is, statistically, safer than the average human driver? Probably. Will it ever beat the best human drivers? No way. Humans think in a way that computers cannot replicate, no matter how fast they process information there is no way they can make judgement calls. I'll always be more comfortable driving my own vehicle or riding in one driven by a professional human driver than I would be in a self-driving vehicle.
    FSD is already statistically safer than human drivers.

    A self-driving car would not have attempted passing a delivery truck at 100mph+ on a two lane road early this past Sunday morning in a light fog. She drove head-on into innocent grandparents driving their grandchild home, and killing both them and herself. She was thinking in a way that a self-driving vehicle would not.

    I have no issue with self-driving vehicles traveling with more caution than the typical under 30 adult. Get there 5 minutes later but less stressed and unharmed. Why not?

    https://waymo.com/safety/
    edited April 9
  • Reply 18 of 26
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 1,150member
    ... my fsd trial was trurned off after 20m...
    It generally works yet seems to hit the brakes for the occasional low bridge and off ramp speed reduction signs...
    Auto wipers too have been problematic.
    There is a lot to like about the cars, however with anything software caution is advised...

    Leave The World Behind has a related scene: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TCXvkaUyzM


    williamlondonronn
  • Reply 19 of 26
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,956member
    Regarding the settlement. My guess is Tesla’s lawyers, made a calculation and took the best odds, like any lawyer would do. As someone mentioned above, there’s no telling what a jury would do and you certainly can’t trust them to be rational or logical.

    Regarding the technology, auto pilot is not the same as full self driving. Auto pilot is essentially a glorified Lane keep assist feature that steers the car to keep it in the lane. It is designed for use on highways and not city driving.

    “Full self driving” Is designed for driving and navigating city streets. I have been part of the beta test program for full self driving for over two years. The early versions were cool to play around with, but would never be considered polished or ready for prime time. The latest version (12.3.3) has been significantly better in my experience. In the last 100 miles I’ve driven it I’ve only had to take over for safety reasons once. You still need to pay attention, and be ready to take over, though, and anyone with a lick of common sense, who uses the software knows that. 
    slow n easywatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 26
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,956member
    Also, from the Tesla manual: 
    Warning
    Autosteer is a hands-on assistance feature. Keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times, be mindful of road conditions and surrounding traffic, and always be prepared to take immediate action. Failure to follow these instructions could cause damage, serious injury or death. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the limitations of Autosteer and the situations in which it may not work as expected. For more information, see Limitations and Warnings.

Sign In or Register to comment.